Community message from UMaine President, UMM Head of Campus and UMM Director of Athletics and Fitness — July 21

We are writing to you today to make an important announcement about a decision that will have a significant impact on many valued members of the UMM community. Effective July 21, the University of Maine at Machias varsity athletics program will be suspended for an indefinite period.

The decision to suspend varsity athletics was made after many hours of deliberation among the three of us, and many others. The suspension is a necessary step toward reducing expenditures under the constraints of our current budget. It was not taken lightly and was made only after we had carefully considered other options for restructuring without suspending operations.

Know, also, that the decision was not made solely because of the pandemic, though the additional costs and safety concerns associated with these challenging circumstances are certainly significant.

The suspension of varsity athletics does not signal the end of competitive sports at UMM. Beginning this fall, we will look at expanding our intramural offerings and possibly developing a club sport model, in accordance with all the latest state and federal health and safety protocols. We’ll have the support of the University of Maine campus recreation staff, who have experience developing successful club sports programs.

Ultimately, we’re optimistic that this will be a more sustainable and competitive model for athletics at our campus. That said, we know that this announcement will likely be profoundly disappointing for our student-athletes and their fans.

We hope that our student-athletes will decide to continue their studies at UMM, and we’re committed to honoring their athletics scholarships through the 2023-24 academic year. For those students who wish to transfer to another institution, Mike Belanger will work closely with the admissions staff to ensure that they have our full support.

We’ve appended a list of answers to important questions to the end of this email. In addition, we are open to your feedback and will do our best to answer your additional questions and concerns.

We want to close this message by thanking everyone who has worked hard over the years to make Clipper Athletics a success.

 Our student-athletes have represented UMM on the basketball and volleyball courts, soccer field and cross-country trails, and their accomplishments have made us proud. Our coaches have worked tirelessly to support their teams and have pushed each student-athlete to do their best work, both in competition and in the classroom. The athletics program has continually received generous support from our alumni, many of whom are former Clipper athletes themselves.

 And we’re grateful to everyone in the UMM community — faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends — who have come together, over and over, to show their school spirit and their support for our athletes.

We’re confident that we can all work together to shape a better future for athletic and academic excellence at UMM.

Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President
Dan Qualls, UMM Head of Campus
Michael Belanger, Director of Athletics and Fitness